Sauces and dressings are what makes a diet interesting! However, they are also the cause of most goof-ups if you aren’t careful! So is hot sauce keto-friendly?
Most hot sauces with water and vinegar bases are keto-friendly and extremely low carb. Avoid those containing sugar, ketchup, honey, or fruity syrups as they are loaded with carbs.
Diet meals can become boring and repetitive! Hot sauces can definitely spice up your meals (and your life!)
But not all hot sauces are created equal!
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In this article, we’ll find out which sauces are suitable for the keto diet. And you’ll also see what really goes inside a hot sauce!
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What is Hot Sauce Made of?
Everyone under the sun has heard of hot sauce! Each culture has their own unique recipe to spice up their dishes.
In a nutshell, a hot sauce is a combination of hot peppers, water or vinegar, and salt. They come in different colors and different forms (liquid, paste, etc.)
The chemical present in peppers that really adds that “hotness” to them is called capsaicin.
Hot sauce is a gift from our ancestors which goes back to the Mayan times. What started out as a mere mixture of water and peppers, is now available in a thousand different varieties!
The famous Tobasco company was one of the first sellers of commercial hot sauce in the 19th century. Their initial customers were only hoteliers, but they soon experienced an exploding demand from households too!
Did you know? Hot sauces are differentiated based on a scientifically designed scale known as the Scoville Scale.
It ranks sauces based on the number of capsaicinoids (all the spicy elements) present inside. It’s the same ingredient present in pepper sprays used for personal protection!
These are some of the most common hot sauces used in the U.S.:
Lousiana Hot Sauce
It’s a simple combination of pureed chili peppers, vinegar, and salt. Tobasco is the perfect example of a Lousiana-style hot sauce. They are generally thin and some brands also ferment their sauces for an enhanced taste.
They are highly versatile and can be used as both a recipe ingredient and a topping.
Picante is a Mexican-style hot sauce with a consistency similar to Lousiana. They contain minimal vinegar and include chipotle, habanero, jalapeno, and pequin peppers.
Both of these are keto-friendly because they do not contain any carbs.
Sriracha aka the rooster sauce is a red-orange hot sauce made using red chilies, sugar, salt, garlic and vinegar.
It is a common occurrence in Asian cuisine and also combines really well with Mayo as a sandwich spread!
Chili Garlic sauce is an extension of Sriracha with even more chilies and garlic!
Sriracha and Chili Garlic are only moderately keto because they contain sugar(carb alert!).
Harissa is an emerging hot sauce from the North African region. It has a thick consistency and mostly comes in a can. Ingredients include serrano peppers, oil, and herbs and spices like coriander, cumin, caraway, and garlic.
Harissa has 2g of net carbs per serving and hence it is keto only in moderation.
It is that dark red, flecked oil that you spot lying on the table of most Chinese restaurants!
It is used as a cooking ingredient and also makes a good topping for noodles and dumplings. Ingredients include dried chilies, Sichuan peppers, and other spices immersed in sesame oil.
Chili oil has zero carbs which makes it perfectly keto-friendly!
My remarks are based on the general sauces but in reality, each brand has its own unique recipe! So you need to be careful and always read nutrition labels before you buy one.
Here’s a quick guide to find out the which hot sauce to pick on keto.
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Is Hot Sauce Good for Keto?
The keto diet works in mysterious ways to melt down your belly fat!
Who could have thought that you can burn fat by eating more fat?
Surprisingly, experts today claim that keto is one of the most effective weight-loss diets out there!
It works on the principles of carb restriction. When you stop feeding carbs to your body, it turns into a highly efficient fat-burning machine in no time!
But since we are only allowed less than 25g of carbs per day, there are a lot of sacrifices to be made.
Luckily, hot sauce doesn’t have to be one of them!
Most hot sauces are free from significant fat, carbohydrates, protein, or vitamins. After all, they’re just a combination of salt, chili peppers, and vinegar.
You can easily read nutrition labels and find out the number of carbs in bottled sauces. But what if you are going all Masterchef and experimenting with your own sauce?
Peppers are the only source of carbs in a hot sauce (other than sugar!), so if you are making your own, just find out the net carbs in your pepper. It is just a simple google search away!
Don’t stress about it though, because each serving is going to have only a small portion of the pepper!
Stay away from sauces with fruity elements such as pineapple, mango, or even berries. Also, avoid barbecue sauces since most of them contain sugar.
MORE: Is Pesto Keto?
Is Frank’s Hot Sauce Keto Friendly?
Frank’s RedHot Original sauce contains zero calories and zero carbs, which makes it perfectly keto-friendly!
It is one of the most famous hot sauces in the keto community. Its ingredients include cayenne red peppers, distilled vinegar, water, salt, and garlic powder.
One may argue that garlic has a significant amount of carbs! While this is true, the amount of garlic you get per serving is negligible.
Frank’s RedHot Original is just one out of the many hot sauces they offer.
Here’s the carb breakdown of each of the other variants:
- Frank’s RedHot Xtra Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce: 0 Carbs (Keto-Friendly)
- Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wings Sauce: 0 Carbs (Keto-Friendly)
- Frank’s RedHot Chili ‘n Lime Hot Sauce: 0 Carbs (Keto-Friendly)
- Frank’s RedHot Sweet Chili Sauce: 17g carbs (AVOID this on Keto!)
Is Valentina Hot Sauce Keto Friendly?
I tried Valentine hot sauce in a Mexican restaurant and I instantly got hooked! After looking at its nutrition profile, I quickly ordered it on Amazon! It is a red pepper hot sauce that has the perfect amount of heat for my liking!
Valentina hot sauce is extremely keto-friendly because it has zero carbs per serving.
It has a smooth chili flavor with a smoky after taste. Valentina is my go-to hot sauce for my ketogenic tacos (made with Mission’s low carb wraps)
Ingredients of Valentina hot sauce include:
- Chilli Peppers
- 0.1% Sodium Benzoate (Preservative)
Clearly, they have a “clean” ingredient profile that doesn’t leave much scope for carbs!
Is hot sauce really keto?
Absolutely! Hot sauce is made using chili, salt, vinegar and water. It contains zero carbs and you can freely enjoy it on the keto diet.
Watch out for the ones with sugar or fruity elements present inside. They are packing a lot of carbs and you are better off without them.
Sriracha, sweet chili ‘n’ lime, and chili garlic are some examples of sugary sauces that you should avoid.